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Febrile convulsions happen to young children between six months and 5 years old, but can occasionally occur in older children. Even with no history of febrile convulsions in your family, your children may still suffer them, so be prepared! One in 20 children are affected and the outcome can be devastating if not dealt with very quickly.
Who can get febrile convulsions?
The simple answer is anyone! However, a child is at greater risk if:
- the parent suffered as a child
- they are more inclined to be ill or get infections which include high temperatures
- their first convulsion was accompanied by a low body temperature (below 39 degrees)
One in a thousand children suffer a convulsion after having the MMR jab. It usually occurs 8-10 days after the jab. This is responsible for only one tenth of the cases of febrile convulsions compared with children who suffer measles itself.
What are the symptoms?
- The sufferer loses consciousness and the body goes stiff
- Head is thrown back and limbs jerk
- Skin goes very pale
- The attack ends and the shaking stops and then the child goes limp, normal consciousness returns slowly
What to do if a child suffers a febrile convulsion?
- Do not intervene while the attack takes place
- Turn the head to the side to prevent choking
- Do not place anything in the mouth
- Take the child IMMEDIATELY to hospital
Although febrile convulsions look like epileptic fits, they are rarely related. 99% of children that have a febrile convulsions DO NOT EVER HAVE ONE AGAIN! SO, don't panic or worry too much. Just make sure your babies and children are not too hot or smothered when in bed or out and about then it's warm. Give them plenty of water and if in any doubt, get to a doctor or call the emergency services immediately!